Sitka's Kelsea Johnson attains NCAA All-America honors

University of Alaska Anchorage runner, and Sitka High Graduate, Kelsea Johnson (far right, block 7), earned NCAA All-America honors with her finish in the heptathlon at the NCAA DII Outdoor Track & Field championships in Pueblo, Colo. last week.

PUEBLO, Colo. - Alaska Anchorage senior Kelsea Johnson concluded her collegiate career in style, storming back on Day 2 of the heptathlon to furnish All-America honors at the NCAA Div. II Outdoor Track & Field Championships at the Neta and Eddie DeRose Thunderbowl on last week.

 

A local of Sitka, Johnson used personal bests in the javelin and 800 meters to finish seventh overall with 4,927 points. Johnson, who was 14th after four-scored events on Day 1, ended just 13 points behind her school record of 4,940.

The Great Northwest Athletic Conference runner-up, Johnson started the day with a leap of 17-10.25 in the long jump before improving her career best in the javelin by almost two feet at 117-6, good for fourth overall. Johnson sat 10th after six events, before using a time of 2:21.81 to finish third in the 800 meters and jump up to seventh and All-America status.

Johnson registered personal bests in the 100-meter hurdles (14.95) and 200 meters (25.85). Johnson, who is UAA’s first heptathlete to make the NCAAs, also posted a mark of 5-0.5 in the high jump and 32-11.25 in the shot put. Juniors Micah Chelimo and Susan Tanui each furnished All-America honors at the NCAA Div. II Outdoor Track & Field Championships at the Neta and Eddie DeRose Thunderbowl last week as well. Chelimo and Tanui each picked up runner-up performances in the 3,000-meter steeplechase races, while Johnson concluded her collegiate career in style, storming back on Day 2 of the heptathlon to finish seventh.

Junior Micah Chelimo became the second Seawolf track & field athlete to claim a national title by winning the men’s 5,000 meters, while helping Alaska Anchorage to its best ever combined performance at the NCAA Div. II Outdoor Track & Field Championships on Saturday.

The women’s team completed the three-day championships with a program-best 17 points, good for a two-way tie for 11th. The six All-America honors easily set a school best, as the Seawolves had only posted two All-America honors in the same season; once in 2006 and again last season.

On the men’s side, UAA furnished a program-best 28 points, bypassing its previous best of 19 in 2009, giving the Seawolves their first ever top-10 team standing in track & field. UAA finished ninth following 21 events scored at the Neta and Eddie DeRose Thunderbowl Stadium. Combined, the Seawolves posted a school best 10 All-America honors - six women, four men - with junior Susan Tanui and Chelimo registering two apiece. Senior Kelsea Johnson, junior Ruth Keino and sophomores Haleigh Lloyd and Ivy O’Guinn each picked up one on the women’s side, while senior Alfred Kangogo and freshman Cody Parker each earned one apiece on the men’s team.

Chelimo collected a program-best 18 points for the Seawolves with his winning performance in the 5,000 meters and a runner-up finish in the 3,000-meter steeplechase on Friday. Chelimo became just the second Seawolf male to furnish two All-America honors in the same season; second to only Marko Cheseto. Chelimo, the West Region Male Track Athlete of the Year, took control of the 5,000 meters in the last 400 meters and never trailed again. A local of Kapkoi, Kenya, Chelimo crossed the finish line at 15 minutes, 15.85 seconds, outdistancing Western State’s Tyler Pennel (15:16.56) in the third to last event on the windy Colorado State University-Pueblo campus.

Tanui, who owns UAA’s women’s best finish ever after taking second in the 3,000-meter steeplechase on Friday, became the first Seawolf woman to post two All-America honors in the same season. A local of Eldoret, Kenya, Tanui took eighth in the 5,000 meters with a time of 18:00.06

From Kapcheno, Kenya, Keino recorded her second career All-America honor with a seventh-place finish in the 5,000 meters, clocking in at 17:57.33. A junior in track, Keino also earned All-America honors in 2011 in the 10,000 meters.

Kangogo, from Eldoret, Kenya, joined Chelimo as the only Seawolves with three straight All-America honors in the same event. The 1500 meter’s third-place finisher in 2011, Kangogo finished fifth with a time of 4:15.18. He also finished 8th in the event in 2010. Collecting her first career All-America honor was O’Guinn in the 1500 meters. A local of Soldotna, O’Guinn registered a time of 4:41.98, good for seventh place. A year ago, O’Guinn finished ninth in the same event. Posting her first appearance in the finals at the NCAAs was Lloyd, a native of Ladysmith, B.C. The GNAC record holder in the event at 59.62, Lloyd crossed the finish line in a time of 59.91, collecting All-America honors with a seventh-place showing.

UAA’s first national champion was David Registe in the long jump in 2008, while the previous best for the men’s team was 14th, accomplished in 2009 and 2010. The Seawolf women had never finished better than 33rd, when they recorded six points. Winning the men’s team championship was Adams State with 77 points, while Grand Valley State took home the title on the women’s side with 90 points.

Freshman Cody Parker broke the GNACC record in the javelin on Saturday at the NCAA Div. II Outdoor Track & Field Championships at the Neta and Eddie DeRose Thunderbowl Stadium.Parker’s toss ranks 12th all-time in division II. He was the only freshman to make the finals.

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